S&P 500 puts in its sixth rise in a row

THE S&amp;P 500 index of the biggest US companies managed a sixth consecutive day of gains to end at its closing high for the year as energy shares rose alongside the price of oil.<br /><br />But the market lost some strength in the afternoon and the Dow and Nasdaq ended little changed as investors opted to lock in profits before earnings season picks up steam. Volatility was heightened by light volume, with many market players away for the Columbus Day holiday.<br /><br />&ldquo;You&rsquo;re seeing prudence taking the lead here, with people starting to lock in profits in hopes we don't see a pretty big move down after some of the larger companies report over the next few days,&rdquo; said Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan.<br /><br />Results from major banks will be in the spotlight this week with J<strong>PMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs </strong>and <strong>Bank of America </strong>all set to report. The S&amp;P financial index rose 0.9 per cent.<br /><br />Other major reports this week include <strong>Intel</strong> and <strong>Google</strong>.<br /><br />With the last two quarters characterised by cost-cutting and layoffs, analysts will be looking for signs of revenue growth from corporate reports and guidance.<br /><br />&ldquo;I think what everyone will key into is we&rsquo;ve seen what you&rsquo;ve done on the cost side of the house; tell us how and when the revenues are going to start to flow through,&rdquo; said Kurt Brunner, portfolio manager at Swarthmore Group.<br /><br /><strong>Black &amp; Decker</strong> jumped 7.6 per cent to $50.82 as the power tools maker raised its third-quarter earnings outlook, citing better-than-expected shipments. <br /><br />The Dow Jones industrial average added 20.86 points, or 0.21 per cent, to 9,885.80. The Standard &amp; Poor&rsquo;s 500 index gained 4.70 points, or 0.44 per cent, to 1,076.19. The Nasdaq Composite index was off 0.14 point, or 0.01 per cent, to 2,139.14.<br /><br />The S&amp;P 500 hit a 2009 intraday high of 1,079.46 before cutting gains but still racked up its longest winning streak since another six-day runup in late May and early June 2007.<br /><br /><strong>Chevron</strong> and <strong>Exxon Mobil</strong> were among the Dow&rsquo;s biggest boosts as optimism about the economic recovery pushed the price of oil up 2.1 per cent. Front-month US crude oil futures gained $1.50 to settle at $73.27 a barrel. Chevron&rsquo;s stock rose 1.3 per cent to $73.67 and Exxon put on 1.2 per cent to $70.13.<br /><br /><strong>Google</strong> rose 1.5 per cent to $524.04 after several analysts raised their targets on the stock before its third-quarter results, due on Thursday.